Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Foiled Marriage

It has been popular for couples living along the Ohio River in western Kentucky to go across the river to marry in the Illinois counties of Gallatin (Shawneetown), Hardin or Pope. At one time, there was no waiting period and an underage couple could marry if they had a consent note from the parents. This changed in 1905, when a statute was passed in Illinois that forbade the issuing of licenses to non-resident minors, even with a consent note.

The following article is from the 29 Jan 1908 issue of the Henderson Daily Gleaner and illustrates the results when an underage prospective bride met a diligent officer of the law.

Sturgis, Ky. Jan. 27 - Officer W.H. Taylor experienced a lively chase after [meeting] John Tutt, aged 26, and Ellen Pruitt, aged 13, both of Sullivan, Ky., who were matrimonially inclined. The couple had driven to Shawneetown, Ill. with John Loving, the liveryman of Sullivan, but on reaching there, on account of the youthful appearance of the would-be bride, the clerk refused them a license. They at once started for Elizabethtown, Ill., and had just driven into Caseyville, Ky., where they expected to take a boat when Officer Taylor put an end to their blissful expectations by taking the child in charge and returning her to her parents.

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